Don’t you just love how the meteorologists on television love to get carried away when interesting weather approaches? Their excitement mixes with awe and wonder at the amazing things weather can do. It began again earlier this week with their talk about an Alberta clipper system making its way across the upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and into the Northeast just as another storm system that began on the Texas coast made its way across the South and then made a left turn to track north. These two storm systems would meet somewhere around Maryland and Pennsylvania forming a giant nor’easter, i.e. a “perfect storm.”
As of this morning, everything the TV meteorologists predicted has occurred with these two storm systems. They are now together, dropping snow on Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. But wait! The “Snowpocalypse” is yet to come over the eastern part of New England! Blizzard warnings! Forecasts of two or more feet of snow! One of the top five worst winter storms on record for this area of the country! Airlines have cancelled flights. Mayors of affected cities have urged residents to stay home and off the streets. Schools have closed. Is it just me or is the tone of all this dire?
I suppose the media has a responsibility to warn the people in the affected areas about the storm and possible dangers accompanying it. Blizzards are dangerous storms, known to kill people. But I can’t help wondering, what ever happened to the fun in a big snowstorm? As adults have we really lost the ability to have spontaneous fun in the snow?
Think back to your childhood. If you grew up in a place where it snowed during the winter, how did you feel about those snowfalls? We would have snow days off from school, of course, which were always a treat. But the things I remember the most, are the creative activities the snow made possible. Snow angels. Snow mountains in the backyard. Snow huts and tunnels. Snow men and snow animals. Snow slushies in red or green or purple. Snow provided a unique play environment, too, for sledding and snowball battles.
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Snow affects the environment. I live in a large metro area, which has a high level of traffic noise even on the quietest of days. When a blizzard hits us, suddenly the world silences. Footsteps crunch barely above a whisper. The snow seems to absorb sound to muffle it, soften its tone, make it gentle to the ears. A week ago, we had a lovely snowfall that began in the afternoon and extended into the evening. Big, fluffy white snowflakes drifted to earth like goose down feathers. At night, the snow blurs the world like fog. I love to walk at night during a snowfall, being the first to walk through four inches of new snow, making a trail for others to follow. Waking the morning after a snowfall to see a fresh, white world, softened by the snow that sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight.
Celebrate the snow this weekend, enjoy it, have fun! Yes, stay inside until the storm has moved on. Yes, shoveling out sidewalks and driveways isn’t fun, but it’s excellent exercise when done correctly, and the mounds you make of the snow can become mountains with ice slides on one side. The kids may drive you crazy until it’s safe to go outdoors, but watch them, let them remind you of the joy of a big snowfall. Drive your vehicles slowly, watch out for kids playing and snow plows. In other words, have a great weekend in the snow.